Man charged over blaze in South African Parliament

The fire broke out early on Sunday at the parliamentary complex, some of which dates back to 1884 and includes the National Assembly

South African police said on Monday they had charged a man with arson over a fire that caused extensive damage to the national Parliament building in Cape Town. The fire flared up again on Monday even as fire fighters struggled to contain the blaze.

The fire broke out early on Sunday at the parliamentary complex, some of which dates back to 1884 and includes the National Assembly, or lower House of Parliament.

It caused the collapse of the roof of a part of the complex housing the upper chamber on Sunday.

A 49-year-old suspect arrested in connection with the blaze is expected to appear in court on Tuesday and will face charges of housebreaking and theft as well as arson, police said.

"It is alleged that he gained entrance through the window inone of the offices," Hawks spokesperson Nomthandazo Mbambo toldeNCA television, adding that investigations were continuing intohow the suspect had managed to evade security at the parliament.

"There is a possibility of other charges being added asthere was a security breach here," Mr. Mbambo said.

Jean-Pierre Smith, a Cape Town mayoral committee member responsible for safety and security, said firefighters werestill dealing on Monday with "hotspots on the 4th floor of theNational Assembly which is still smouldering".

"Lots of books and bookshelves (are) smouldering," he said, adding that the interior of the National Assembly had beenextensively destroyed by fire, water, heat and smoke.

The National Assembly is situated in what is known as the New Wing, which suffered the worst damage in the blaze. The fire was more quickly contained on Sunday in the Old Wing,parliamentary authorities said.

Source: Read Full Article